Last week the National Feed Manufacturing Congress took place in Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico. This wonderful event held a panel of the “big cheeses” of the animal protein sector in Mexico: poultry, pork, beef and milk. An interesting group united by a common goal – producing animal protein.

Poultry came first in presenting their view; a relevance supported by the fact that 63% of animal protein (milk excluded) consumed by Mexico comes from poultry – that is 33.5 kg of chicken and 409 eggs per capita.

One of the issues presented by Arturo Calderón, CEO of the National Poultry Producers Association (UNA) was about the Mexican regulations’ framework. Here we find a heavy burden because of several things. Senasica (the national food/feed safety authority) has limited financial resources, and UNA is aware of that. However, Calderón (and UNA) have urged to do something to modernize regulations in Mexico.

I have to agree with Mexican poultry producers, because as Calderón said, “it would be unthinkable that authorities can reach all remote spots in the country,” if we consider that migratory birds fly over country borders and state borders and “won’t stop to get a cloacal swap to see if they carry avian flu or Newcastle disease.”

So, what should we do? Present regulations are 25 years old and have not been modified since. “This, among other things, is curbing the poultry industry in Mexico, because regulations evolution does not follow the speed of poultry diseases biology.” This is the particular case of AI.

This leads to one issue that needs to be solved. The Mexican poultry industry’s cornerstone has to do with avian flu. The country is tied up because exports are not possible. The industry and authorities need to define what to do with the disease. Is Mexico going to live with the disease or is it going to eradicate it? Because both options require very different public policies and decisions.

Eradication seems almost impossible. Mexican poultry producers have been coexisting with avian flu for many years already. In harmony? Could be. The industry grows at an average of 3% per year (more or less).

So, maybe it is time to turn the tables. Situations change and so should the decisions. Maybe vaccination with strong biosecurity is the way to go and not only in Mexico, but elsewhere.

What do you think?